Some West Virginia University students will be applying what they have learned in the classroom when they volunteer at the West Virginia Special Olympics Summer Games June 9-11 at WVU .
The student volunteers are taking Greg Capraras course on coaching Special Olympics. The course is offered through the Athletic Coaching Education Program in the School of Physical Education.
“Students in the class are required to volunteer with Special Olympics for course credit,”said Caprara, who is also program director of West Virginia Special Olympics.”Their grade is determined based on a paper they write about their experience.”
The class draws about 12-20 students a semester during the regular school year and up to 30 in the summer, he said. Students who enroll during the fall and spring semesters volunteer with Special Olympics on the local level.
Caprara said the students gain valuable hands-on experience as Special Olympics volunteers.
“It provides them with an opportunity to interact with a population they might not normally be exposed to,”he said.”We give them assignments in which they have a lot of contact with the athletes. We also give them jobs organizing some of the events. They gain experience in athlete management, competition management and other areas.”
The course is funded and administered by the W.K. Kellogg Expanding Community Partnerships Program at WVU .
The program, established in 1998 with a $1.25 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, funds projects that include community service as part of students education, said Susan Hunter, program director.
“We believe any course that involves students in community service related to their classroom experience enhances not only classroom skills, but civic responsibility and the role of students as citizens,”Dr. Hunter said.”Gregs course on coaching Special Olympics certainly does that.”